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Stem Offers Power-Storage Systems Using Solar Lease Model

Stem Inc., a provider of energy-storage technology, is offering battery systems to commercial and industrial customers with no upfront costs by adapting a financing model that’s accelerated the installation of rooftop solar panels.

Stem will be able to install about 15 megawatts of systems using a $5 million investment from Clean Feet Investors I LLC, the Millbrae, California-based company said today in a statement.

The company is offering long-term financing options that are similar to the solar leases and power-purchase agreements widely used by companies including SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc. The battery systems let customers reduce their peak power-demand expenses and cut utility bills by 10 percent to 40 percent, said Prakesh Patel, Stem’s vice president of capital markets and strategy.

“That’s really been one of the challenges of getting this technology out there,” Patel said in an interview. “This is a training-wheels approach to getting to that massive scale and adoption that you’ve seen in the solar space.”

The batteries store power from the grid during non-peak hours for use during peak periods. A typical commercial customer will use three of Stem’s 18-kilowatt systems, a total of 54 kilowatt-hours of storage capacity, which cost about $97,000. Most contracts will be for 10 years, and customers will have the option to buy the systems, Patel said.

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